Global Business Travel on the Rebound Boosting Las Vegas Casino Operators

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Despite the ongoing pandemic, the global business travel industry is showing promising signs of recovery, much to the anticipation of Las Vegas casino hotel operators, especially those housing convention centers along the Strip. Progress in this sector could herald significant economic revival.

Recent findings from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) suggest that a rapid rebound in the business travel sector could lead to it outpacing its 2019 spending of $1.4 trillion by next year, potentially escalating to a staggering $1.8 trillion by 2027. This acceleration back to pre-pandemic expenditure levels is quicker than previously forecasted and opens the prospect for growth in the upcoming years. Yet, how travel figures will persist in recovering remains uncertain.

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Echoing this optimism, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) recently increased the rates charged to exhibitors at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Casino operator executives also divulge expectations of a rise in meetings and convention business by the latter half of 2023 and continuing into the following year.

Almost four years post the coronavirus economic decline, corporations are adapting to function amid the ongoing pandemic. This adaptation hints at the potential revival of business travel. Moreover, the recovery of global business travel over the last 18 months has been driven mainly by advancements in combating the Covid-19 pandemic. The resurgence of in-person meetings and events and partial recovery of international business travel capacities have also been essential in stabilizing the industry over the past few months.

Such a trend could spell good news for casino operators like MGM Resorts International harboring vast convention spaces. Their COO, Corey Sanders, has indicated optimism for their Strip convention’s performance in 2023, with even brighter prospects for 2024 and 2025. The company announced last October a proposed $100-million renovation program for the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Resorts, both with untapped large-scale convention spaces due to the pandemic, could also significantly benefit from this trend.

This business travel resurgence isn’t just a domestic phenomenon, with potentially favorable implications for Macau operators too, following China’s economic recovery initiation earlier this year. Earlier setbacks in the Asia Pacific business travel market have seen China drop to the #2 business travel market globally. However, not all is lost for China as it is predicted to reclaim its #1 spot by the end of 2023.

Thus, Las Vegas Sands, MGM, and Wynn, the three US-based Macau concessionaires, have much to look forward to in this regrowth trajectory.